Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, will learn his fate on Monday, September 20, 2021, in his new suit seeking to prevent the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from retrial in an alleged N7.1bn fraud charges brought against him.
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja is expected to issue a make-or-break decision in the case.
On July 2, the Judge set the date after Kalu and the EFCC adopted all processes filed for and against the suit.
The court bailiff issued a notice for delivery of judgment on Sunday, September 19, and served it on both the EFCC and Senator Kalu through their respective lawyers.
Orji Uzor Kalu attempting to prevent his retrial
The former governor, who is now a Senator representing Abia North Senatorial District in the Senate, is attempting to prevent his retrial on the N7.1bn money laundering charges on the grounds that he had previously been tried, convicted, and imprisoned on the same charges.
While adopting his processes, Professor Awa Kalu SAN, counsel to the former governor, informed the court that Senator Kalu stood trial for 12 years and received a judgment convicting and imprisoning him for ten years.
To support his arguments, the senior counsel cited Section 36 (9) of the 1999 constitution, which states that no Nigerian shall be subjected to double jeopardy.
Awa Kalu insisted that the former governor, who had already served a jail term, would face double jeopardy if the court allowed the federal government to put him on trial for the second time.
Dr. Kalu produced and read the Supreme Court decision that resulted in the ex-release governor’s after five months in prison, claiming that the apex court made no order for his client’s trial.
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He had challenged the EFCC to show him where an order for retrial was issued against the former governor.
The senior lawyer then urged the court to prevent the EFCC from proceeding with the planned retrial.
However, in vehement opposition to the suit, the EFCC, through its counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN, requested that the court dismiss the suit with anger.
He claimed that the Supreme Court declared the judgment that resulted in Kalu’s release to be null and void, as well as ordering a retrial of the appellant in the case, Mr Udeh Jones, who stood trial alongside Kalu on the same charges.
The EFCC had argued that because the Supreme Court order benefited Kalu, he should bear the burden resulting from the ruling.
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Jacobs described Kalu’s suit as applauding and reprobating at the same time, frivolous, and irritating, and he sought dismissal of the suit with an order that Kalu face a retrial.
In a brief ruling that followed, Justice Ekwo set September 20 as the date for the case to be heard.
Specifically, Kalu is seeking a court order prohibiting the federal government, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, others, agents, privies, and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 others, or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, despite the lack of an existing
The ex-governor also sought an order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies, and any other person or body deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying, harassing, and intimidating him in connection with charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between the FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 others.
In addition, Kalu has asked the federal high court to prevent the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1b money laundering charges.
He contended that having been tried once by the EFCC, convicted and sentenced on the same charges FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007, allowing him to face a new trial on the same charge would amount to double jeopardy.